Sunday, January 13, 2013

Visit redux

So, yesterday was our big visit day. We are staying about 20-30 minutes drive from where the grandparents live but we decided to split up the visits and allow Baby Spouse a nap in the afternoon, which we were very glad about.

Nella and Grandpa came in the morning - while we were on the way (late because we hadn't printed out her photos yet - oops - and because there was traffic - not really our fault) she called to check we knew where we were going but when we got there she was off getting food. Grandpa had suggested we met at his church where there are a few rooms to chat in and that was a good suggestion - it was quiet and Baby Spouse got to move around on the floor a bit, plus there was a piano and his favourite activity is banging on the piano. So he did that with Nella, and she asked us before giving him fries (we said no), and she took off he somewhat smoky coat before hugging him. 

He was happy to go to her for a hug (he is OK most of the time with strange women if we are there, but sometimes a little fussy, more often with strange men - there are a couple of male carers at nursery but he hasn't had either of them caring for him yet) but not very happy with Grandpa (who is physically rather unlike anyone he has met yet, too).  Nella said "oh I heard babies sometimes..." and I was going to chip in with "are OK with women they don't know" but she finished with "know who their natural mothers are". Mr Spouse was out of the room at that point or I would have heard a snort from him I think.  But he asked me later and I realised that he sees Nella's photo probably every couple of days so he may well have recognised her.

She also started to give us a rundown of all the drama in her life over the last while and said "oh, I hope you don't mind me telling you this" - her dad was there at this point - and I did say "that's OK but when Baby Spouse is a bit older maybe not".  She seemed distracted, kept answering her phone and saying she had to go, but she stayed till we had to leave. Grandpa also told us some information about her childhood that was interesting, but I think not information you'd share with a verbal child present, and I think he knows that, so will act as a brake on her to some extent.

Later in the afternoon we met both of them plus Grandma and Montana at an Applebees.  Nella was late, and again kept checking her phone, calling people, and saying she had to go, but she was waiting for a ride and as it turned out the ride arrived just after we got in our car, having eaten our meal and chatted and said goodbye to the others in a more relaxed way. Montana was just really sweet with him, and Grandma and Grandpa besotted, but in a nice way - last year they seemed nervous of us - we have not been in touch that much but enough that I think they now feel OK about us.

We also found out information about Big Brother that we hadn't known - Grandma says that he has had some developmental problems, and had some severe breathing problems at birth, and that they were happy to see Baby Spouse is doing a lot better. I may have to see if Big Brother's mother will share something of this. Likewise, when no-one else was there, Grandpa told us a bit more about the problems Montana has been having, which he puts down to Nella's care for her when she was small.

We have decided that the jail business will not be public knowledge to our UK friends and family (and I know a few people I know IRL read this, but I also know they are discreet).  The story will be that Nella does have a complicated and dramatic life but she managed to show up for a short visit.  We will need to warn Baby Spouse when he is older that she may not show up. I am thinking he will get the message she is pleasant, but unreliable and does not concentrate on him, from her behaviour during visits, fairly quickly unfortunately.

Monday, January 07, 2013

And why not

Well, 2012 was quite a year, so why not jump on the bandwagon and publish a Best Of monthly list of posts?

In January, of course, we got the call that Baby Spouse had been born early.

In February we got his visa, and finally I got to go home with him. I can't remember if I said later but the friend with the very premature baby went on to be my best mummy pal but has now moved to the other side of the world. Boo!

In March we had a very minimalist Mothering Sunday. In April, very sadly, my mother in law became very ill and later that month she died.

In May, I found myself telling a little girl I know to ask her parents about the facts of life. Incidentally, my niece of about the same age recently told us both "oh, of course, he can't drink milk from you because you weren't pregnant" (I did point out to her that she didn't drink milk from her mother at that age either) and also "OH LOOK Baby Spouse is doing something in his nappy". Erm yes we know.

I didn't blog much in June but I did write about contact/visits/whatever you call them.

In July (as pretty much ever month) Baby Spouse decided to temporarily allay my fears about him being slightly delayed (he'll need to do it again some time I suspect).

In August he met a lot of new people at a very muddy festival.

In September some surprising people said some awkward things. Incidentally I related the beautician incident to another mummy friend who was also pretty ghasted.

In October I hadn't gone back to work yet but I moaned about it, and Baby Spouse visited and started nursery.

In November I rather feebly took part in IComLeaveWe, but also we had an emergency visit to the paediatrics ward.

And finally if you've read this far, in December I was still agonising over who to tell and who not to tell, and how, about Baby Spouse's history.

Saturday, January 05, 2013


We are visiting Baby Spouse's home state for a couple of weeks in order to 
a) get him a new passport (not essential to do this here, but much quicker and easier - we were in and out in an hour and picked it up in 10 minutes the next day, and the agents sang him Happy Birthday!)
b) have a family holiday, so far so good on that one! And he's getting over his jetlag better than we are, too.
c) visit our friends, his foster carer etc. in Nice Little Agency-ville
and probably most importantly
d) visit birth family.

It's the latter that has thrown a spanner in the works. We got an email today from birth grandpa to say that Nella is in jail - we think at least for only a short period, and it's possible she'll be out by the time we are due to meet, but I doubt it.

So... at least this has happened now while he is too young to know he is supposed to meet her. And we can make sure he knows about this when he is older - it's a whole different scale to "didn't keep appointments with us" which has been the level of unreliability to date.

One year on

This time last year, we arrived at the airport in Baby Spouse's birth city the most tired possible after frantic packing and a really really long flight (there's a really long layover to almost anywhere here for some reason - we think if we decide to visit other family on a future trip we'll go to them first of all).

Two days after his first birthday, he's crawling faster every day - he follows you around which not just cute but actually quite nice - he was crawling around on the plane and in the passport office - and tonight he crawled into the bathroom for his bath.
He has an excellent trick where he holds up his hands to his forehead as if the world is all too much for him - if you start he does it back to you. I think it's "I am a drama queen" but Mr Spouse thinks it might be "Greetings, Earthling!".
He claps and waves (but on his own timetable, and he hasn't worked out that people not looking at you can't see you waving). He looks at me and says "Mama" but Mr S says it's just random - though tonight he said Da to Mr Spouse so perhaps he'll change his tune.  He also and says something that's either Yeh or Hiya, as well as all his other random noises - he seems to have a new one every day. He's also discovered other fun things to do with his mouth, like blow raspberries while you have a mouthful of milk or yoghurt.

Everyone asks us if he's pulling himself up (it's the new "is he crawling yet") but while he can reach stuff on the coffee table he isn't actually pulling himself up on it. He will also give you things and doesn't yet grab them back. Of course he's chewing everything (two top teeth, not quite in time for Christmas, and four on the bottom, and we bought him this book for his birthday. As Mr Spouse says, it looks like the person who wrote it actually has children.

We are very lucky - and although someone called me "Granny" yesterday, I'm trying not to care.